Written by Bryn Smallwood-Garcia
"Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food. " - Isaiah 55:2
What is "rich food" for you? Is it chocolate cake? Ice cream? Pizza? Corned beef and cabbage? (The feast of the Irish side of my family.)
During Lent, I did not do any fasting, but I did try to eat more slowly, peacefully, mindfully. We made a family Lenten resolution to have more meals at the table. This Norman Rockwell scene is not always possible, but when it happens (more often now) it is a true sacrament.
With no electronic distractions – no cell phones, no TV, no loud music – we hold hands, drink in the calm, and take turns saying "grace" with real gratitude for the meal, but more important, for the quiet time spent together.
I find myself envying my Orthodox Jewish friends, who unplug completely on the Sabbath. Their religious rule against lighting fires on Shabbat means no phones, no internet, no internal combustion engines – no interruptions, no intrusive work emails, no traffic. What a blessing it must be to take a full day each week to go "off the grid" and just be with God and family, and with faith family!
Would keeping Sabbath today with a weekly "electronic media fast," or "fossil fuels fast" help us to better sample Isaiah's "rich food" for the soul? Is that something Jesus can offer us from his faith tradition?
Perhaps more than ever, God is still speaking today through the prophet Isaiah, as he calls us back into a deeply satisfying, long-lasting, soul-nourishing covenant of love:
Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love." Isaiah 55:3
Holy One, we know ourselves as your "God is Still Speaking" church. Help us to listen well, so that we may receive the fullness of life you offer us each day. Amen.
Bryn Smallwood-Garcia is Senior Pastor at The Congregational Church of Brookfield (UCC) in Brookfield, CT. She is writing a book entitled Bread Alone: What the ‘Holy Casserole’ Has to Teach the Church.